One thing I really like about robot vacuum cleaners is the small package they come in. Standard vacuum cleaners can be quite bulky and take up a lot of room, which makes it hard to store them when you’re not using them, especially if you have a small home or apartment. Most robot vacuum cleaners aren’t much bigger than the palm of your hand which makes storing them a minor issue. One great compact robot vacuum cleaner is the BISSELL SmartClean 1605 which features a low profile that makes it ideal for cleaning some tough-to-reach areas.

Bissell is one of the most recognizable names in vacuum cleaners so I wasn’t surprised to find out that they also have a presence in the robot vacuum cleaner market. What is surprising is that you can purchase the SmartClean 1605 for under $200, making it one of the more affordable ones on the market.

Built to Pick up Dirt

This vacuum by Bissell is ideal for cleaning most surfaces. It has a powerful suction system and a unique brush roll design that captures any dirt in its path, pushing it into the vacuum cleaner and removing it from your floor. If you’ve ever looked at the underside of a standard vacuum you’ll know the type of system I’m talking about. The bristles wind in a spiral patent that continuously pushes the dirt and debris into the vacuum cleaner. It’s a formula that’s worked for years and it’s not surprising that Bissell has used the same technology on its robot vacuum cleaner.

It Actually Learns

According to the company’s own literature this vacuum is equipped with a revolutionary navigation system that increases both accuracy and its ability to learn your environment. It easily recognizes most obstacles, although small items like Legos may be mistaken for dirt and debris that needs to be cleaned. For the most part it does a pretty great job of differentiating between objects that should be avoided and ones that it should clean.

Knows When It’s Time to Sleep

You can program when the model starts to vacuum and when it stops. After it’s finished its designated cleaning period it will return to its charging station and automatically dock itself, so you don’t have to worry about plugging it in yourself. The unit will last for up to 80 minutes on one charge and it generally takes about 4 to 5 hours for it to completely recharge itself. For most people that’s not a big deal, as once it’s done it’s cleaning duties it probably won’t be used again until the next day anyway. Perhaps if you have a very large house 80 minutes might not suffice, but for most people that’s more than enough time to cover their home’s full floor area.

The Advantages of Programming

As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, you can actually program this unit to work around your schedule. You probably don’t want the vacuum cleaner moving around the floors just before supper time when everybody’s running around trying to get things done. For most people the best time for the vacuum cleaner to be operational is when they’re not around at all. I can see myself timing my cleaning schedule for when everybody’s at work or school so that it never gets in anybody’s way.

Easy to Carry

Most traditional vacuums can be fairly heavy and bulky, making them difficult to carry around the house. If you want to use the Bissell SmartClean 1605 on different levels of your home it won’t be much of a problem; it weighs about 5 pounds and just about anybody can lift this thing. It’s also quite compact when compared to the traditional vacuum cleaner.

Adjusts to Most Floors

While you won’t want to use this vacuum cleaner in your garage or on those thick, 1970s style shag carpets, it will work on just about any other indoor surface. It’s extremely versatile and capable of adjusting when it makes the transition from hardwood to tile and to carpet. It’s even capable of climbing over the lips that are often used between different flooring types. Many robot vacuum cleaners get stuck on these lips, so this is a welcome feature. In general it’s capable of climbing a lip that’s up to 3 inches tall.

The Invisible Wall

One other feature of this vacuum that’s definitely worth mentioning is its invisible wall technology. The vacuum comes with sensors that can be placed near doorways that essentially tell the robot vacuum not to try to move between different rooms. This allows you to control exactly which rooms your vacuum should clean, even if there are no natural barriers between rooms. There are other robot vacuums that come with features that prevent them from entering areas that you don’t want them to, but they aren’t generally as user-friendly as this.

Falls Short along the Walls

According to some customers this Bissell vacuum does not do a great job of cleaning along the walls because the brushes are too short. If this is true it’s a little disappointing; it sort of defeats the purpose of having a robotic vacuum if you have to still clean along the edges yourself. Another issue with this vacuum is that the dirt bin just isn’t big enough, which means you have to constantly change it and that can pose a problem for people with larger homes.

It’s Good, but It’s Not Great

In spite of a few complaints most owners of the Bissell SmartClean 1605 are relatively happy with its performance. It does a great job of picking up dirt and debris on your floors and it’s also good at transitioning from one type of flooring to another. Where it does fall short is in its ability to pick up all the dirt along your walls. Overall it’s not a bad choice, but there are better options.